What exactly is a “Smart City”?

Smart city graphic showing silhouetted city outline showing links to homes, factories, offices, transport and other city services.What is a smart city and is it different from other cities? Smart cities use digital technology and data to improve decision-making and quality of life. The aim is to gain a better understanding of current conditions and forecast future changes. The data are also used to improve city functions and create solutions. But how does it work?

In an article titled, Smart City Design Principles, more is explained. For a city, town or community to become smart it needs connected technology. Smartphones, sensors and Internet of Things devices connect to the Internet and each other and share the data they collect with city staff. Managers use various applications to take this data and turn it into information they can use. This can have a huge impact on urban development and planning.

There are four key elements:

    1. Quality encompasses liveability, environment, and quality of life (which should include accessibility and inclusion).
    2. Residential Construction focuses on addressing the needs of current generations without negatively impacting future generations.
    3. Capacity is about natural and human resources – population distribution, water, etc.
    4. History and Environment is about achieving cohesive regional development, traditional practices and archaeological zones. 

Anyone interested in understanding and applying the elements of the smart cities framework will find the article useful. Case studies, illustrations and charts are included.

The Smart Cities Council is in the process of developing a framework based on the Sustainable Development Goals. They have published their work so far with an overview of concepts. 

James Thurston explains the 5 Pillars of Inclusive Smart Cities and the Smart Cities for All Toolkit. 


smart city should embrace the concept of sustainable growth, as it is an urgent need, and we cannot hesitate in coping with precious natural resources and plunge into crisis.

To make the city run as a smart city, several things should be included in the situation. In the long term, smart city visions that are inclusive, pluralistic, and citizen-centric, focused on developing services and resolving local challenges, would be the most effective and cost-efficient.

They are most likely to avoid potential issues by strengthening both physical facilities and amenities, as well as the city’s sense of culture.

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